From: Sam Coleman, Cooper Drive, Bexhill
Any reader of this newspaper will be well aware that Bexhill is currently undergoing possibly its most seismic democratic review since the decision to abolish Bexhill Borough Council back in the 1970s. The ‘Community Governance Review’, which is currently in phase 2, could result in a seismic shift of the town’s governance. Based on the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the relentlessly passionate campaigning of Democracy4Bexhill and other local group , the most likely of these shifts could well be the formation of a Bexhill Town Council.
If the governance reviews of other towns were anything to go by, the momentum from these action groups would be more than enough to see Bexhill adopt a town council. However, Rother District Council’s handling of the Community Governance Review and the off-the- record reluctance of many District Councillors have made this an uphill climb for town council campaigners. Nonetheless, the momentum seems to be picking up steam as the various organisations up their campaigning efforts to counter the seemingly pitiful attempts made by Rother to publicise the review.
One possible redeeming factor for the campaigners is that, due to phase 2 being a ‘consultation’ rather than a legally binding vote, there is no lower age limit on who can vote. This means that campaigners have a real opportunity to enthral young Bexhill residents with the same passion for change that saw an unexpectedly high turnout in the last general election. Young people are the future and so it isn’t hard to see how retaining a district council famously stuck in the past is a far less attractive prospect than a town council that could actually do something about young peoples issues without having to go through numerous rural Rother councillors with little interest in the matter.
As a young person myself, I have watched recreation centres close and sports facilities dilapidate under the watch of Rother District Council and until recently I thought there was no hope for Bexhill’s youth. A town council, however, could change things.
From the campaign to save Sidley Sports Ground to the fight to fix Bexhill Skate Park, a Bexhill Town Council could help solve these pressing issues and be a revolutionary step into Bexhill’s bright future. I hope that my peers and fellow young residents take this opportunity to give the town better prospects and vote for Option 2, a Bexhill Town Council.
Bexhill Observer, 15 September.